Monday, July 11, 2016

The aim of the Ecumenical Movement

Defending the importance of the Ecumenical Movement, especially to those who oppose it, is always a great task. Remaining stubborn in our divisions as a Christian people is not the way of achieving love, friendship, communion with our co-believers. Nevertheless, how may we achieve this great objective? What is the aim of the Ecumenical Movement? Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, who has worked for decades on Ecumenical Relations, explains the aim of Ecumenism, by remembering what late Cardinal Suenens said, in regards to our topic, that ‘in order to unite, we must first love one another; in order to love one another, we must first get to know one another.’[1]

Metropolitan Kallistos comments on the above phrase, explaining: ‘This process of getting to know one another – slow and often disappointing  - needs to be carried out at many levels: through official dialogues and international conferences, through contacts between local parishes, through the exchange of theological students, and through the publication of books, whether learned or popular. Yet perhaps more important than any of these is the cultivation of what may be called “ecumenical friendships” – direct contacts face to face, person to person, across church boundaries. Without a firm foundation in such friendships all our other endeavours towards Christian reconciliation are in danger of proving rootless, abstract and theoretical. . .’[2]

[1] Ware, Kallistos, ‘Father Donald and the Orthodox Church,’ in Keller, David (ed.), Boundless Grandeur – The Christian Vision of A.M. Donald Allchin, (Eugene, Oregon, Pickwick Publications, 2015), p.23. 
[2] Ibid. 

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